Re: Better Queens by Jay Smith
Nothing wrong with grafting.
But Better Queens by Jay Smith is an excellent little book and should be required reading for someone starting out. Things have advanced since then and Jay does not fully address some of the more modern conundrums such as genetic diversity, the focus of the book is purely on the actual mechanics of raising the queen. The book is aimed at full time queen breeders, but for a small hobbyist there is a section on how to use Jays method, using just one or two hives.
Sol to do the cut cell right, you do need to use Jays method of putting a dedicated comb into your breeder hive, then removing it a day later with eggs in it, to ensure the larvae are the right age, as per what Frazz said. This might be the most complex part of the whole thing for a new beek, but just follow his instructions given in the section for a small beekeeper.
A big advantage of grafting is you can use all available larvae, where the cut cell method requires a decent amount of larvae because the majority of them are destroyed. However while grafting done right produces fine queens, in my own experience of using both methods you do get a higher mating % from cells raised using the cut cell method, and Jay found that as well.
I did a thread here about raising queens without grafting, that includes photos which might help. The method I showed was very similar to Jays method, just incorporated my own experience, plus a thing or two I learned from Robert Russell.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).